Recorded as Ganeforth, Gainford, Gainforth, Gainfort, Ganiford, Ganeforth andd others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Gainford in County Durham, although there is a very faint possibility that some name holders may derive from the Essex hamlet of Gainsford, particularly the first London recording shown below, although we have no absolute proof. What does seem certain is that the name travelled south in the 16th century, probably following an enforced clearance by the land owners. It split eventually into two main spellings of Gainford, Gainforth and Gainfort, and Ganford, Ganforth, and Ganeforthe as in the recording of William Ganeforthe, christened at Bagby in North Yorkshire on November 9th 1587. In fact the name was an early recording in London, Thomas Geynforde being christened at the church of St Martin Orgar, on July 21st 1552, and Henry Gaynfford at St Mary Woolnoth, also city of London, on December 18th 1566. Other examples include Francis Ganford who married Emme Madder at Stamford in Lincolnshire on October 10th 1665, whilst in Bedfordshire the variant form of Ganiford seems to be a 19th century form, a later example being William James Ashman Ganiford, born at Ampthill on November 22nd 1909. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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